Division I Team Of The Week: Week 7 - Mayfield


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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Division I Team Of The Week: Week 7 - Mayfield

MAYFIELD - If Mayfield beats Willoughby South in district play on Thursday the Wildcats will tie the school record for wins in a season.

Four impressive victories last week helped the cause for Mayfield, the Prep Baseball Report Division I Team of the Week. It started with a 2-1 triumph over Strongsville and followed with 8-2 success against Brunswick, 10-0 versus Kenmore Garfield and 7-1 over Gilmour Academy.

Senior right-hander Sonny Fontana threw a perfect game in the sectional final with Garfield to celebrate his 18th birthday. A day later, Raymond Kristosik tossed five innings of no-hit ball against Gilmour before being pulled on a predetermined 75-pitch limit. He did the same thing against Avon earlier in the year with a perfect game entering the fifth.

“His health is extremely important to our teams’ success and no individual accomplishment is going to interfere with our team goals,” explained head coach DJ Rapposelli about the uncommitted senior, the 44th-rated 2021 left-handed pitcher in Ohio.

Success is not a surprise for Mayfield, which stands 24-3. 

“We have high expectations for this team, but are taking it one game at a time,” Rapposelli said. “We find so many different ways to put runs on the board. As we get deeper in the tournament run, teams will capitalize on any physical or mental mistake. We plan on being on the right side of that equation. We have put ‘US’ before ‘YOU’ and ‘YOU’ before ‘ME’. It has been a team motto that has driven our mental focus and puts us in a great position to win every time we take the field.”

Speed has also proven beneficial.

“This is the fastest team in Mayfield baseball history,” Rapposelli noted. “We have 123 stolen bases in 134 attempts.”

That is a big contrast from the opposition.

“We have also completely shut down the run game,” Rapposelli pointed out. “Opponents have 15 stolen bases in 23 attempts.”

Pitching depth has been another strength for a team with an overall ERA of 2.096.

Kristosik is a big reason why with a 9-0 record, surpassing the best ever at the school of 8-0 held by both Andrew Revello and Dominic DiPippo. Kristosik also has 80 strikeouts, 21 behind Mike Grinnell’s school record, while walking 11 with a 1.50 ERA.

“Coach Hayes and coach Dodson get to work the joystick while Ray is on the mound,” Rapposelli related. “The young man hits his spots and keeps hitters off balance.”

Riley Canitia has been a major contributor at the plate with a .351 average, 20 RBIs and 18 runs scored.

“When he is in the groove he hits the ball so dang hard,” the Mayfield mentor said about the senior.

Corey Razum has the top batting mark on the team at .400 while solidifying the defense at third base.

Speaking of defense, Billy Guzza draws raves from his head coach.

“Billy is the best center fielder Mayfield has seen since Timmy Wetzel,” Rapposelli noted about the senior outfielder. “Any ball hit in his direction is followed by a ‘You hit it to the wrong guy!’ chant by our super fans.”

The Mayfield leadoff hitter is also batting .333 with 19 RBIs, 33 runs, and 27 stolen bases.

“We put together a very competitive non-conference schedule,” pointed out Rapposelli in reference to the 13 games outside of the WRC. “At the beginning of the season our total win projection was a bit lower than our current total, so our record is definitely a pleasant surprise.”

The Mayfield head coach is hoping the elation continues against Willoughby South, a team they have beaten twice, 13-3 and 10-3. A win would propel Mayfield to the district finals against either Austintown-Fitch or Massillon Washington.

“To continue having success, we need to believe in one another, understand our roles, and execute in the big moments,” Rapposelli said. “We have the ability to do that with a variety of lineups. We are feeling good about our chances and controlling that excitement. Narrowing our focus when the stage is set will play a big part.”

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A Look Back At The Last Decade:

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